Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Program Description

Top-ranked, 1-year program for bright futures in public service

A recognized leader in the field for more than 90 years, the Maxwell School's Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an intensive, 12-month professional graduate degree program that provides students with the skills, knowledge, and network they will need to be successful professionals and engaged citizens serving the public good across national and international government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Our MPA program meets the growing need to advance public policy, enhance public management, and bridge the private and public sectors. Its curricular focus is grounded in a comprehensive view of public service education that equips our students with the skills needed to implement effective policy; manage organizations with diverse stakeholders; and apply rigorous, evidence-based analysis to inform decision-making. Our students move on to successful careers, making an impact by serving the public good, finding jobs in national, state, local, and international government, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies throughout the US and around the world.

Our efficiently-paced, highly regarded MPA is consistently top-ranked in reputational surveys of our peers:

  • #1 in public management and leadership,
  • #2 in nonprofit management,
  • #2 in public finance and budgeting, and
  • #5 in international and global policy. (US News & World Report, 2018)

Skill-based curriculum

The core requirements of the MPA degree are balanced along three lines: policy analysis, public management, and public context. The nine core courses include a concerted focus on public affairs, public budgeting, public administration and democracy, public organizations and management, economics for public decisions, and executive leadership and policy politics.

In addition to the core courses, students choose one of seven specialized Areas of Study, providing in-depth coursework in the following areas:

  • Environmental Policy and Administration,
  • International and Development Administration,
  • National and International Security Policy,
  • Public and Nonprofit Management,
  • Public Sector Innovation and Management
  • Social Policy, and
  • State and Local Government Financial Analysis and Management.

Expert faculty

Our renowned faculty conduct groundbreaking research and shape policy debates at local, national, and international levels. Nearly all Maxwell professors are full-time tenure-track appointees who are regularly on campus and easily accessible. Visit our PAIA faculty page to learn more about these prominent educators and researchers.

Making an impact after graduation

Ninety-five percent of our most recent graduates had secured their post-Maxwell positions within 6 months of graduation. They are employed across sectors and around the world: in federal, state and local government (33%); private sector (27%); domestic nonprofit (25%); international government and NGOs (15%); or choosing to continue their studies toward the Ph.D.

Our Areas of Study pages highlight the important integrated approach that the Maxwell School takes in integrating a students studies and activities in the program with their career goals. This well-rounded approach to the program leads to strong employment outcomes, and a worldwide network of alumni forever dedicated to upholding the Athenian Oath to leave the world a better place.

Flexible study options that fit your career goals

Our Executive MPA provides a flexible program for mid-career public service professionals looking to advance or change their careers.

We also offer a range of dual degree programs, such as MPA/MAIR, MPA/Economics, MPA/JD, that allow students to customize their educational experience to meet their future goals.

Our elite Atlantis Program involves post-graduate work at two universities, the Maxwell School in the United States and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany.

Last updated Sep 2018

About the School

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, ... Read More

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations. It includes America’s leading graduate school of public affairs, offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences; and it is home to undergraduate programs across the full spectrum of social sciences. Read less